6 Indians among 290 killed in Sri Lanka serial blasts, 24 suspects arrested

A day after eight serial blasts rocked Sri Lanka, which was celebrating Easter Sunday, authorities have revised the death toll to 290. At least six Indians are among the dead.

Seven JDS workers from Karnataka have gone missing since blasts ripped apart the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo where the group was staying. Two of them are feared dead in the blasts.

Over 500 people have been injured in the blasts.

Police have arrested 24 suspects in connection with the blasts while another improvised pipe bomb was defused near the Colombo airport.

The bomb has been successfully defused by the Sri Lanka airforce.

A police source told AFP that a “homemade” pipe bomb was found late on Sunday on a road leading to the main terminal. “It was a homemade bomb, with explosives put into a pipe,” said the source.

“The death toll from attacks on churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka rose significantly to 290, and about 500 people were also wounded,” police said on Monday.

The death toll overnight had stood at 207. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera declined to give a breakdown of those killed and wounded at each of the three churches and four hotels hit on Sunday, attacks that marked the most significant violence since a bloody civil war ended 10 years ago.

On Sunday morning, 8 serial blasts ripped through the island nation, killing at least 290 people and injuring at least 500 people across several towns and capital city Colombo.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the number of arrests on the incidents have now gone up to 24.

However, the government said they will not disclose the details of the suspects involved in the attacks to prevent them from getting publicity.

“Don’t give extremists a voice. Don’t help to make them martyrs,” State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene, told reporters when asked for details of those in custody.

A curfew was imposed in Sri Lanka on Sunday evening immediately after the seventh and eighth blasts. However, curfew has now been lifted.

As the country celebrated Easter Sunday, six blasts blew up three churches and three luxury hotels in the country, killing hundreds of people. Hours later, around 3 pm, two more blasts targeted hotels, killing a few more.

At least six Indians have been killed in the attack. Four of them have been identified as PS Razeena, Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh.

The blasts – one of the deadliest attacks in Sri Lanka’s history – targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.

Explosions were reported from three five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe termed the blasts as “cowardly attacks” and said his government was working to “contain the situation.”

At least 32 foreigners were killed in the blasts, including Indian, British, US, Turkish, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese citizens.

(With agency inputs)

Updated: April 22, 2019 — 7:38 am